Do you have one of those uncles (or any other relative) who just disagrees with anything and everything you believe in? Or somebody who has a bit too much to drink and then picks an argument with somebody? Here are some tips to help you get through the day.

1) Stay calm – breathe in for a count of four and out for a count of seven.Repeat this about five times. This triggers the release of endorphins – the feel-good hormones – in the brain. If you can, walk away.

2) Plan how you’re going to respond if you know they always criticise your cooking, or the way you dress or whatever. Use ‘I’ statements. So if your aunt always tells you that she doesn’t like your hair, you could answer, ‘I like my hair this way and I expect those who love me to accept me the way I am’. Give this person a job to do. ‘You do such a good job of laying out a table, could you set the table for Christmas dinner?’ Compliment them.

3) Giving them something to do also works well with those who are always right.

4) If there’s somebody who loves being the centre of attention or being in control, ask them what they think about something

5) If somebody is starting to become frustrated or angry, keep your voice soft and low. When you do that, the other person may well become calmer. Or try matching the tone and volume of their voice and then gradually soften your tone and volume. This often leads the other person to a calmer response.

6) Set boundaries and stick to them. If you know Uncle Harry always drinks too much and gets angry, tell him beforehand that you would appreciate it if he didn’t get so drunk. If he does, be prepared to leave or ask him to leave.

67You may have a relative who never stops talking. This is often a sign of loneliness. Just listen to them. If you can, steer the conversation to a topic that you are also interested in. Enlist other people so you can take turns to listen.

I hope that these suggestions help you to enjoy a calm, peaceful Christmas.

Image by Al Lambe at Pixabay